PG TRB (English) Coaching Class starts on 14.04.2019
AKSHIIRAA COACHING CENTRE
PG TRB EXAM
for the post of
Post Graduate Assistants
Well Trained Professors
Unit wise Materials
All Previous TRB Questions
VENUE: The Little Flower Hr.Sec.School,
Salem – 636 006.
Unit I – Chaucerian Age (1400 – 1600)
|S. No||Title||P. No|
|01||Chaucer’s Prologue to The Canterbury Tales||14|
2.2 Faerie Queene – Book-I
|03||Wyatt’s Poems (Selections in Peacock’s English verse, Vol-I)||64|
|04||Surrey’s Poems (Selections in Peacock’s English verse, Vol-I)||71|
|05||Ballads (Peacock – Vol-II)||80|
|06||6.1 Sir Francis Bacon
6.2 Of Truth
6.3 Of Adversity
6.4 Of Studies
6.5 Of Revenge
6.6 Of Ambition
6.7 Of Friendship
|07||Sidney’s An Apologie for Poetrie||133|
|08||The Bible – The Book of Job||143|
|09||Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus||150|
|10||Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy||168|
|11||Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist||188|
|12||12.1 William Shakespeare
12.3 The Tempest
12.4 Henry–IV Part-I
12.5 Measure for Measure
12.6 Antony and Cleopatra
- Geoffrey Chaucer’s Prologue to The Canterbury Tales
Geoffrey Chaucer was born circa 1340 in London, England. In 1357 he became a public servant to Countess Elizabeth of Ulster and continued in that capacity with the British court throughout his lifetime. The Canterbury Tales became his best known and most acclaimed work. He died October 25, 1400 in London, England, and was the first to be buried in Westminster Abbey’s Poet’s Corner.
Poet Geoffrey Chaucer was born circa 1340, most likely at his parents’ house on Thames Street in London, England. Chaucer’s family was of the bourgeois class, descended from an affluent family who made their money in the London wine trade. According to some sources, Chaucer’s father, John, carried on the family wine business. Geoffrey Chaucer is believed to have attended the St. Paul’s Cathedral School, where he probably first became acquainted with the influential writing of Virgil and Ovid.
In 1357, Chaucer became a public servant to Countess Elizabeth of Ulster, the Duke of Clarence’s wife, for which he was paid a small stipend—enough to pay for his food and clothing. In 1359, the teenage Chaucer went off to fight in the Hundred Years’ War in France, and at Rethel he was captured for ransom. Thanks to Chaucer’s royal connections, King Edward III helped pay his ransom. After Chaucer’s release, he joined the Royal Service, traveling throughout France, Spain and Italy on diplomatic missions throughout the early to mid-1360s. For his services, King Edward granted Chaucer a pension of 20 marks. In 1366, Chaucer married Philippa Roet, the daughter of Sir Payne Roet, and the marriage conveniently helped further Chaucer’s career in the English court.
By 1368, King Edward III had made Chaucer one of his esquires. When the queen died in 1369, it served to strengthen Philippa’s position and subsequently Chaucer’s as well. From 1370 to 1373, he went abroad again and fulfilled diplomatic missions in Florence and Genoa, helping establish an English port in Genoa. He also spent time familiarizing himself with the work of Italian poets Dante and Petrarch along the way. By the time he returned, he and Philippa were prospering, and he was rewarded for his diplomatic activities with an appointment as Comptroller of Customs, a lucrative position. Meanwhile, Philippa and Chaucer were also granted generous pensions by John of Gaunt, the first duke of Lancaster.
In 1377 and 1388, Chaucer engaged in yet more diplomatic missions, with the objectives of finding a French wife for Richard II and securing military aid in Italy. Busy with his duties, Chaucer had little time to devote to writing poetry, his true passion. In 1385 he petitioned for temporary leave. For the next four years he lived in Kent but worked as a justice of the peace and later a Parliament member, rather than focusing on his writing.
When Philippa passed away in 1387, Chaucer stopped sharing in her royal annuities and suffered financial hardship. He needed to keep working in public service to earn a living and pay off his growing accumulation of debt.
The precise dates of many of Chaucer’s written works are difficult to pin down with certainty, but one thing is clear: His major works have retained their relevancy even in the college classroom of today.
Chaucer’s body of best-known works includes the Parliament of Fouls, otherwise known as the Parlement of Foules, in the Middle English spelling. Some historians of Chaucer’s work assert that it was written in 1380, during marriage negotiations between Richard and Anne of Bohemia. Critic J.A.W. Bennet interpreted the Parliament of Fouls as a study of Christian love. It had been identified as peppered with Neo-Platonic ideas inspired by the likes of poets Cicero and Jean De Meun, among others. The poem uses allegory, and incorporates elements of irony and satire as it points to the inauthentic quality of courtly love. Chaucer was well acquainted with the theme firsthand—during his service to the court and his marriage of convenience to a woman whose social standing served to elevate his own.
Chaucer is believed to have written the poem Troilus and Criseyde sometime in the mid-1380s. Troilus and Criseyde is a narrative poem that retells the tragic love story of Troilus and Criseyde in the context of the Trojan War. Chaucer wrote the poem using rime royal, a technique he originated. Rime royal involves rhyming stanzas consisting of seven lines apiece.
Troilus and Criseyde is broadly considered one of Chaucer’s greatest works, and has a reputation for being more complete and self-contained than most of Chaucer’s writing, his famed The Canterbury Tales being no exception.
The period of time over which Chaucer penned The Legend of Good Women is uncertain, although most scholars do agree that Chaucer seems to have abandoned it before its completion. The queen mentioned in the work is believed to be Richard II’s wife, Anne of Bohemia. Chaucer’s mention of the real-life royal palaces Eltham and Sheen serve to support this theory. In writing The Legend of Good Women, Chaucer played with another new and innovative format: The poem comprises a series of shorter narratives, along with the use of iambic pentameter couplets (seen for the first time in English).
The Canterbury Tales is by far Chaucer’s best known and most acclaimed work. Initially Chaucer had planned for each of his characters to tell four stories a piece. The first two stories would be set as the character was on his/her way to Canterbury, and the second two were to take place as the character was heading home. Apparently, Chaucer’s goal of writing 120 stories was an overly ambitious one. In actuality, The Canterbury Tales is made up of only 24 tales and rather abruptly ends before its characters even make it to Canterbury. The tales are fragmented and varied in order, and scholars continue to debate whether the tales were published in their correct order. Despite its erratic qualities, The Canterbury Tales continues to be acknowledged for the beautiful rhythm of Chaucer’s language and his characteristic use of clever, satirical wit.
A Treatise on the Astrolabe is one of Chaucer’s nonfiction works. It is an essay about the astrolabe, a tool used by astronomers and explorers to locate the positions of the sun, moon and planets. Chaucer planned to write the essay in five parts but ultimately only completed the first two. Today it is one of the oldest surviving works that explain how to use a complex scientific tool, and is thought to do so with admirable clarity.
From 1389 to 1391, after Richard II had ascended to the throne, Chaucer held a draining and dangerous position as Clerk of the Works. He was robbed by highwaymen twice while on the job, which only served to further compound his financial worries. To make matters even worse, Chaucer had stopped receiving his pension. Chaucer eventually resigned the position for a lower but less stressful appointment as sub-forester, or gardener, at the King’s park in Somersetshire.
When Richard II was deposed in 1399, his cousin and successor, Henry IV, took pity on Chaucer and reinstated Chaucer’s former pension. With the money, Chaucer was able to lease an apartment in the garden of St. Mary’s Chapel in Westminster, where he lived modestly for the rest of his days.
The legendary 14th century English poet Geoffrey Chaucer died October 25, 1400 in London, England. He died of unknown causes and was 60 years old at the time. Chaucer was buried in Westminster Abbey. His gravestone became the center of what was to be called Poet’s Corner, a spot where such famous British writers as Robert Browning and Charles Dickens were later honored and interred.
Prologue to The Canterbury Tales
“When April comes with his sweet fragrant
Showers, which pierce the dry ground of March”
People want to go on religious pilgrimages to spiritual places in the springtime, when the April rains have soaked deep into the dry ground to water the flowers’ roots; and when Zephyrus, the god of the west wind, has helped new flowers to grow everywhere; and when you can see the constellation Aries in the sky; and when the birds sing all the time. Some people go to other countries, but many people in England choose to go to the city of Canterbury in southeastern England to visit the remains of Thomas Becket, the Christian martyr who had the power of healing people. One spring, when I was making my own humble pilgrimage to Canterbury, I stayed at the Tabard Inn in the city of Southwark. While I was there, a group of twenty-nine people who were also making the same pilgrimage arrived at the hotel. None of them had really known each other before, but they had met along the way. It was a pretty diverse group of people from different walks of life. The hotel was spacious and had plenty of room for all of us. I started talking with these people and pretty soon fit right into their group. We made plans to get up early and continue on the journey to Canterbury together. But before I begin my story, I should probably tell you all about the twenty-nine people in this group—who they were what they did for a living, and what they were all wearing. I’ll start by telling you about the knight.
“As wel in Christendom as hethenesse,
And evere honoured for his worthtinesse”
There was an honorable Knight, who had devoted his life to chivalry, truth, and justice. He had fought for his king in many wars throughout Europe and the Middle East and had won many awards for his bravery. This knight had been there and done it all. He had helped to conquer the city of Alexandria in Egypt in 1365 and had dined with royalty in Prussia on many occasions. He’d fought in Lithuania and Russia more times than any other Christian knight. He’d been at the siege of Algeciras in Grenada, Spain, and had conquered enemies in North Africa and Eastern Europe. He’d been all over the Mediterranean Sea. He’d been in fifteen battles—three of them against the heathens of Algeria—and he‘d never lost once. This knight had even fought with the pagan king of Istanbul in Turkey against another non-Christian. Despite his huge success and his noble lineage, he was practical, self-disciplined, and humble. Never had he said anything bad about another person. He truly was the most perfect knight in every way possible. Now, to tell you about his clothes. He rode fine quality horses, but he didn’t wear flashy clothes. He wore a simple cotton shirt that had stains all over it from the chain mail he‘d worn in the war he’d won just before starting out on the pilgrimage to Canterbury.
“Singing he was, or fleytinge all the day
He was as fresh as in the month of May”
The knight’s son was also with us, a young Squire boy who was his father’s assistant. He was a gentle, happy boy who was well on his way to becoming a knight himself. He was about twenty years old, of average height, and had very curly hair. He was also very strong and physically fit. He‘d served in the army in some wars in Holland and France and had won honors there too, which he hoped would impress the girl he loved. In fact, he was so madly in love with this girl that he couldn’t even sleep at night. He wore a very colorful long shirt that had wide sleeves, and it looked like a field full of red and white flowers. You could tell he was young and carefree because he sang and played the flute all day. He’d write poetry and songs, draw, dance, and joust. All in all, he was a nice young man—humble, polite, and always willing to help out his dad.
“A Cristofre on his brest of silver shene
An horn he bar the bawdrik was of grene”
A Yeoman or servant, accompanied the knight and his son, and since he was the only servant with them, he got to ride one of his master’s horses. This servant wore a green hooded jacket and carried a bow and a bundle of arrows made with bright peacock feathers. The quality of the peacock feathers alone told you that he was a pretty meticulous guy who always paid attention to the little details. He was also an excellent woodworker. He had tan skin, short hair, and wore a wrist guard and a sharp, shiny dagger. He also wore a silver Saint Christopher‘s medal around his neck and a hunting horn with a green strap over his shoulder. He also carried a sword and a shield. I guess he was a forester who spent a lot of time in the woods.
“And French she spake ful fair and fetisly
After the scole of Stratford- atte- Bowe”
There was also a Prioress, a nun named Madame Eglantine, who ran a convent. She had a sweet and modest smile and was very friendly and easy to get along with. She sang hymns kind of through her nose, which actually sounded pretty good. She spoke French fluently— though still with an English accent. She prided herself on her proper manners and etiquette. For example, she always served herself small portions and took small bites of food so that none would fall out of her mouth or get her fingers too messy. And before taking a drink, she would dab her lip with a napkin so that food didn’t get all over her cup. She went to great lengths to appear well mannered and worthy of being a prioress. She was one of those people who felt so strongly for others that she would burst into tears if she saw a mouse caught in a trap. In fact, the only time she’d swear would be to say ―By Saint Loy! She had a few small dogs with her and would feed them only the finest food—roasted meat, milk, fine bread. She’d cry if one of those dogs died or was abused by someone else. She really did wear her heart on her sleeve. She had a fine nose, bright eyes, a small red mouth, and a broad forehead. In fact, her forehead was almost as wide as the span of my hand, since she was a good-sized woman. She wore a pretty cloak and a well-pressed cloth around her neck. Around her arm she wore a rosary made of coral and green beads, and on this string of beads hung a golden brooch with the letter A and the inscription ‘Amor vincit onmnia’ – love conquers all. She was accompanied by three priests and another nun, who was her assistant.
“No that Monk, when he is cloisterlees
is linked til a fish that is waterless”
There was also a Monk, a splendid chap, who inspected his monastery’s lands. He was a man’s man who loved to hunt and who might one day become the head of his monastery. He kept many elegant horses, and when he rode them you could hear their bridle bells jingle as clearly as the bells of his monastery. He liked all things modern and new and didn’t care for old things, especially St. Benedict’s rule that monks should live simply and devote themselves to prayer and work. He didn’t give a damn for the notion that says monks can’t be hunters or anything but churchmen. I myself agreed with him. Why should he drive himself crazy reading books and working inside all the time? How is that going to accomplish anything useful? To hell with St. Augustine’s stupid rules. Instead, the monk was a horseman, and he kept fast grey hounds. He loved to go hunting, and his favorite catch was a fine fat swan. He spared no expense pursuing this hobby. It was therefore no surprise to see that the finest fur lined the cuffs of his sleeves or that he used a fancy golden pin to fasten his hood. In fact, it appeared to be a love knot, a symbol of enduring love. He had a shiny bald head and his face seemed to glisten. His eyes rolled about in his head and seemed to burn like fire. His brown horse was well groomed, his boots were well worn, and his skin looked healthy, not pale like a ghost’s. Indeed, he was a fine-looking churchman.
“He hadde maad full many a marriage
Of young women at his own cost”
Friar, named Hubert, who lived happily and excessively. He was a beggar, but a sweet talking one. Of all the friars in the world, he was the most playful. He was the best beggar in town and was so smooth that he could even get the poorest little old ladies to give him money. As a result, he made more money than he actually needed, which meant that he could play like a puppy all day long. He was good at resolving legal disputes too, and did so wearing thick, bell shaped robes that were so splendid he looked like the pope instead of a poor friar. He even pretended to have a lisp to make himself sound more dignified. He had married off many young ladies—much to his own dismay. Oh, he was one of the Church‘s finest all right! All the guys in town—and the women too—thought he was just great because, as he himself put it, there was no one who could hear confessions better than he could. All you had to do was slip him some change and he’d swear up and down that you were the most penitent person that ever lived, no matter what you’d done or how sorry you really were. And since bribes are easier than actual remorse, this guy had a lot of nice stuff, including a fair amount of jewelry in his robes that he’d use to woo the ladies. He could also play the fiddle and sing the sweetest songs with a twinkle in his eye. He knew all the bars in town and every bartender and barmaid too. He knew them much better, in fact, than he knew any of the lepers or beggar women or other poor people whom he was supposed to be helping. It wouldn’t have been fitting for him, the powerful man that he was, to be seen with such people. Besides, there’s no money to be made hanging out with the likes of them. Instead, he’d spend all his time with the wealthy, flattering them so that they would give him money. Nope, no one was more virtuous!
There was also a Merchant who had a forked beard and wore clothes that looked like a jester‘s. This businessman wore a beaver hat from Holland and had expensive-looking boots. He spoke very seriously, making sure that everyone knew how wealthy and successful he was. He was particularly obsessed with making sure that the navy maintained order in the North Sea between England and Holland. He played the markets well and sold a lot of Dutch money in currency exchanges. This guy was pretty smart all right: He carried himself so well that no one suspected he was really heavily in debt. He was actually a good guy, and it‘s too bad I never learned his name.
Clerk from Oxford:
“Twenty books clad in blank or read
Of Aristotle and his philosophy”
Clerk from Oxford studied philosophy. His horse was a lean as a rake, and so was he for that matter. He looked hollow and serious. He wore a threadbare cloak because he didn’t make any money. He didn’t have a job because he didn’t want one. He’d rather own twenty philosophy books than have nice clothes or nice things. He used all the money his friends gave him to buy books, and he prayed for the souls of his friends for helping him to pursue his passion. Not surprisingly, he spent most of his time reading. He was polite, but he spoke only when it was necessary and important to do so. His speeches were short and quick but very insightful and often about morality. He was both eager to learn and eager to teach.
“For he was Epicurus own isone
That heeld opinion that pleyn delyt”
Franklin had a fleshy red face and a snow-white beard. He loved to eat a piece of bread soaked in wine for breakfast every morning. He was an epicurean and believed that the pleasures of the world bring true happiness. He owned a large house and frequently entertained guests who came from miles around. He always had the best bread and beer, and there was so much meat and fish that it must have rained wine and hailed food at his house. He also liked to mix up his diet according to the seasons. His chicken coops were actually filled with partridges and his stewes filled with fish. I pity the chef who served him bland food! His dining room table was always loaded with food no matter what time of day it was. He wore a dagger and a white purse. He was a powerful Member of Parliament and a former sheriff. Nowhere was there a more worthy landowner.
There was also a Haberdasher—a hatmaker—a Carpenter, a Weaver, a clothing Dyer and a Tapestry Maker. These men all belonged to the same workingmen’s union, called a guild. Because they belonged to the same guild, they all wore the same clothing too, which seemed to have been made just recently. They wore expensive accessories, including purses, belts, and even fancy knives with handles made of pure silver. Each of them seemed like he could have been a powerful leader of their guild or even a town council. They were certainly all wise enough and wealthy enough to do so. Their wives would no doubt have pushed them to take such positions of power because they too would benefit from being married to men of such prestige.
The guildsmen brought a Cook with them to make them tasty dishes on their journey— spicy chickens and tarts and whatnot. The cook certainly knew a good beer when he saw one and could roast, broil, fry, and stew with the best of them. His chicken stew was particularly good. Too bad he had a nasty sore on his leg.
“Full money a draughte of wyn had her-drawe
From Burdeux-ward, whyl that the chapman sleep”
There was also a Shipman, who came from the West, maybe as far away as the city of Dartmouth. He wore a cheap shirt that came down to his knees, and he rode an old, shabby horse. He also wore a dagger tied to a strap that hung across his chest. He had just recently brought over a wine merchant from Bordeaux on his ship—the Madeleine —and had gotten tan and more than a little drunk during the voyage. He was a good guy, but didn’t let his conscience bother him. When he won battles at sea he would release his captives. He was an excellent navigator too and knew how to read the stars better than any other man. He could sail in any waters and knew all the safe spots from Tunisia and Spain to Sweden. He was hardy and had weathered many storms. He was both wise and practical in everything he did. He is familiar with the Mediterranean to Baltic. He is also familiar with all harbours from Gotland to the Cape of Finisterre.
“For gold in Physic is a cordial
Therefore he lovede gold in special”
There was also a medical Doctor with us, the best doctor in the whole world. This doctor knew astrology and the workings of the natural world and would only treat his patients when it was astrologically safe to do so. He knew the movement of the planets and had studied all the great theories of disease and medicine. He knew the cause of every disease and where it came from. He was really a great doctor. Once he’d figured out which disease his patient had, he immediately gave him the cure. He and the pharmacists had quite the racket going and were quick to prescribe drugs so that they‘d both profit. He ate simple food that was nutritious and easy to digest—nothing more—and he mostly read the Bible. He wore bright red and blue clothes made of the finest woven silk, but he saved the rest of his money because he really loved gold more than anything else. He knows about Hippocrates, Hesculapias, Aesculapius. He gives medicine supplied by chemist. He knows 4 humours of body (i.e.) heat, cold, moisture, dryness.
Wife of Bath:
“Bold was her face and fair and reed of hewe
She was a worthy woman all hir lyve”
There was a Wife from the city of Bath, England. She had a striking, noble face that had a reddish tint to it, though, sorry to say, she had a gap in her front teeth and was a little bit deaf. She wore a hat that was as wide as a shield, sharp spurs, and a pleated cloak over her legs to keep the mud off her dress. She also wore tightly laced red stockings and comfortable new shoes, and her kerchiefs were made of high-quality fabric. In fact, the ones she wore on her head every Sunday were so nice they must have weighed ten pounds. She was so good at weaving cloth that she was even better than the famous weavers from the cities of Ypres and Ghent in Belgium. She’d lived an honorable life and had married five times, not counting her other boyfriends she’d had when she was young—though there’s no need to talk about that now. She was the kind of woman who always wanted to be the first wife at church to make a donation to help the poor but would get angry and keep her money if any woman made a donation before she did. She rode her horse well and knew a lot about traveling because she‘d been to so many foreign places. She’d been to Jerusalem three times, for example. She’d also been on religious pilgrimages to the cities of Rome and Bologne in Italy, to the shrine of St. James in Spain, and to Cologne, France. She was a good conversationalist and liked to laugh and gossip with the others. She could tell lots of stories, especially romantic ones, because she was an old pro when it came to love.
“This noble example to his sheep he yaf
That first he wrought and afterward he taught”
There was a poor Parson, the priest of a rural county church. He was a good man, a person who thought only holy thoughts and did only good deeds. He was very gentle, diligent, and always patient in the face of adversity. He wouldn’t look down on any of his poor parishioners for not donating money to the church. In fact, he’d rather give them what little money he himself had, especially since he lived happily on very little. He didn’t think himself better than others, but he would scold people for being too stubborn in their ways. The county where he lived was large and the houses were spread far apart, but that didn’t stop him from visiting every one of his parishioners, rich or poor. With his walking stick in hand, he’d make his rounds from house to house no matter what, even if he was sick or it was raining. He truly was the embodiment of the teachings of Jesus Christ. He lived as he preached, which set the perfect example for his parishioners, his flock of sheep. He lived by the motto, ― “If gold rusts, what would iron do?” by which he meant, ―The priest must live a holy life if he expects ordinary people to live holy lives; all hope is lost if he turns out to be corrupt. It’s a shame whenever you see a filthy shepherd watching over clean sheep, which is why priests should live by example to show their sheep how to live. The parson remained loyal to his parishioners and would never think about leaving them for a more prestigious post in London or to make more money working for a church on a wealthy landowner‘s estate. He wasn’t interested in wealth or status and wasn’t obsessed with the philosophy of ethics or morality. No, he was merely a simple shepherd who sought to save the souls of his flock by living a good life himself and setting a good example. I believe he was the finest priest in the world.
There was also a Plowman in our group, who was actually the Parson’s brother. He wore a simple shirt and rode upon a horse. He was a lowly laborer who worked with his hands. His love for God was always foremost in his thoughts, when he was both happy and sad. He also thought about the needs and wants of other people and had just as much love for others as he had for himself. He had carted many loads of manure and would dig and work hard, all for the love of God and humanity if he could. He donated a good percentage of his income and the value of his other property to the Church on a regular basis. He was a good and loyal man who lived in happiness and peace.
There were six other people in our group too. There was a reeve, an overseer who looked after his master’s property. There was also a miller, who owned a mill that turned grain into flour. There were also two court officials—a summoner, who was a bailiff in the court, and a manciple, who was in charge of buying food and provisions for the court. And finally, there was a pardoner, an official who sold formal pardons to criminals after they’d confessed their sins to God. And then, of course, there was me. And that was all of us.
The Miller was short, but he was still a pretty big guy—muscular, broad, and big boned. He liked to prove how strong he was by wrestling other people wherever he went, and he always won the matches. There wasn’t a door he couldn’t either rip off its hinges or break down with a running head butt. He wore a white coat with a blue hood and carried a sword and small shield at his side. He loved to talk, and he could tell the best bar stories, most of them about sex and sin. He would steal corn and then sell it for three times its worth. He had a beard that was as red as a fox and about the same size and shape as a gardening spade. He had a wide mouth; deep, gaping nostrils; and a wart on the tip of his nose that bristled with red hairs that looked like they grew out of a pig’s ears. He could play the bagpipes well, and he played for us as we left town.
There was also a Manciple, a clerk in charge of buying food and provisions for the Inner Temple, one of the courts in London. Other manicples could really learn from this guy, who was so careful about what he purchased and what he spent that he always saved a lot of money. He worked for thirty lawyers, all of whom were very smart and educated in the law. At least a dozen of them managed the wealth and lands of some of the most powerful aristocrats in England. Their job was to help the lords save money and help keep them out debt. And yet the manciple was wiser with money than all of them! It‘s proof of God‘s grace that an uneducated man with natural intelligence, such as this manciple, can be smarter and more successful than some of the most educated men.
Then there was the Reeve, an overseer who looked after his master’s lands and property in the town of Bawdeswell in Norfolk, England. He was a bad-tempered guy who got angry easily. The hair on his head was clipped very short like a priest’s and nearly shaved clean around his ears. He also had a neatly trimmed beard, which was also shaved pretty close. He was tall and slender and had gangly legs that looked like sticks—you couldn’t even see his calves. He’d been in charge of his master’s estate since he was twenty years old. He was very meticulous about his job, and no one could fault him for being inaccurate. He always knew how much grain was in the granary and could figure out crop yields in advance based on solely on how much rain had fallen that year. He knew every one of his lord’s horses, chickens, cows, sheep, and pigs. All the other peasants who worked for the landlord were terrified of the reeve because he could tell when they were lying or trying to cheat him. He’d been a carpenter when he was younger and was still pretty good at it. He had a house underneath some shade trees in the middle of a meadow. He knew more about money and property than his master, which is how he was able to save up a small fortune over the years. It also helped that he‘d been quietly tricking his master all along, by lending him things he already owned, for example, and then taking the master‘s thank-you gifts in return. He rode a sturdy plow horse, a dappled grey named Scot, and wore a rusty sword. He wore a long blue coat that he wore draped around him, which made him look like the friar. He rode last in our group.
There was also a Summoner traveling with us, a man who worked as a bailiff in a religious court. He had a fire-red face just like a little angel’s because he had so many pimples. He was a pretty sketchy guy who scared little kids because of his scabby black eyebrows and his scraggily beard. There wasn’t a medicine or ointment in the world that could get rid of the pimples and boils on his face. He liked to eat garlic, onions, and leeks and drink wine that was as red as blood. And when he’d get good and drunk, he‘d go about shouting like crazy in Latin. He really only knew a few words in Latin, only because he heard the judges say them day in and day out in the courtroom. He’d repeat them over and over like a parrot. And if anyone challenged him by asking to say something else in Latin, he’d simply repeat the same question over and over: “Questio quid juris?” which meant, ―I wonder which law applies in this situtation? He was a friendly guy who’d loan his girlfriend to you for a year for a bottle of wine, probably because he knew he could secretly find another girl on the side. He had all the ladies of the court wrapped around his little finger and if he caught another man cheating, he‘d tell him not to worry about being punished by the Church because all he had to do was pay a bribe. On this subject, though, I know he was lying. Everyone should fear excommunication. He was riding around with a garland on his head to be funny, and he carried around a cake that he pretended to be his shield.
“For in his male he hadde a pilwe beer,
Which that he seyde, was our lady veyd”
With the summoner rode a Pardoner from the hospital at Rouncivalle near London, a man who sold official pardons to criminals after hearing their confessions to God. He had eyes that popped out of his head like a rabbit’s and a voice that sounded like the bleating of a goat. He didn’t have a beard either, and I don’t think he ever will have one. His face was always as smooth as if he had just shaven. His thin blond hair was as yellow as wax and hung in straight, stringy wisps from his head. Just for fun, he kept his hood packed up in his bag, thinking that without it he’d look cooler and more stylish with his hair falling over his shoulders. Instead, he wore only a cap that had a patch sewn on it, showing that he’d been to Rome to see the veil of St. Veronica with Jesus’ face on it. In fact, he’d just come back from Rome, and the bag he carried on his lap was stuffed full of letters of pardon for him to sell. He and the summoner were close friends and together would belt out rounds of the song ― “Come here, my love”. Not even a trumpet was half as loud as the summoner. I’m pretty sure the pardoner was either a eunuch or gay. Still, he was one of the most interesting pardoners in all of England. He carried a pillowcase in his bag that he claimed contained a bunch of holy objects, including Mary’s veil, a piece of canvas from the sails of Saint Peter’s fishing boat, a crucifix made of brass and jewels, and even a jar of pig bones. He could make more money in a day charging country bumpkins and priests to see these ―relics than those priests could earn in two months. And so, through flattery and deceit he‘d make fools out of the country folk and their priests. But, to give him credit, he took churchgoing seriously and could read lessons and stories from the Bible well. And he was best at singing the offertory song because he knew he had to sing loudly and happily if he wanted people to donate their money. So now I’ve told you as best I can everything about the people in our little group—who they were, what they looked like, what they wore, and why we were all together in the Tabard Inn in the city of Southwark, England.
Next, I’m going to tell you about what we all did that night after we’d checked into the hotel, and after that I’ll tell you about the rest of our pilgrimage to Canterbury. But first, I have to ask for your forgiveness and not think me vulgar when I tell you what these people said and did. I’ve got to tell you these things exactly how they happened and repeat these stories word for word as best I can so that you get the facts straight without any of my interpretation. Jesus Christ told it like it is in the scriptures, and that wasn‘t considered to be vulgar. And Plato says (to the people who can read Greek anyway) that words must match the actions as closely as possible. I also beg your forgiveness if my storytelling changes your perception of the kinds of people these travelers were: I’m really not that clever, you see.
Our Host, the owner of the Tabard Inn, welcomed all of us and served us dinner right away. The food was really good and the wine really strong, which we all were grateful for. The host seemed like he was a good enough innkeeper to have even been a butler in some great house. He was 100% man, big and with bulging eyes—bigger than any of the merchants in the markets of London, that’s for sure. He spoke in a straightforward manner that conveyed his wisdom and his learning. He was also pretty jolly, and after dinner he started telling jokes and funny stories—after we’d paid the bill, of course—and said, ―Gentlemen, “I welcome you from the bottom of my heart. To tell you the truth, we haven’t had as large a group of people all year who seem as happy as you. I wish I could think of some way to entertain you, and—oh, wait! I’ve thought of something and, best of all, it won‘t cost you a penny!”
“You are all going to Canterbury, where the martyr, Thomas Becket will hear your prayers and bless you. God be with you and speed you on your way! Well, I figure that you‘ll probably tell stories and whatnot to pass the time during your journey because it’d be pretty boring otherwise. I said before that I want to entertain you, so with your permission, I ask that you listen to what I have to say. And I swear on my father‘s grave that if you aren’t entertained as you ride off to Canterbury tomorrow, you can have my own head! Now hold up your hands, and don’t say another word!”
I didn‘t take long for us to decide to do as he asked, and we told him to just tell us what to do “Gentlemen”, he said, “listen carefully, and try to understand what I’m about to propose. I’ll make this short and sweet. I propose that each of you tell us two stories to help pass the time on the way to Canterbury, and then tell two more stories about the olden days on the way back. And whichever one of you tells the most informative or funny story will get a free dinner paid by the rest of us right here in my hotel when you all get back. And, to make sure you enjoy the journey, I’ll pay my own way to go with you and be your guide. I’ll also decide who tells the best story. And anyone who questions my judgment can pay the entire cost of the trip for everyone. Let me know if this sounds like a good idea to you, and I’ll go get ready”.
We all loved the idea and promised that we’d follow the rules of the bet and asked him to come with us to Canterbury and be the judge of the contest. We all ordered some wine and drank a toast, then immediately went to bed.
Our host got up the next morning at dawn and woke all of us up. We set out at a normal walking pace and rode to a stream where a lot of pilgrims on the way to Canterbury stop for a rest. Our host stopped his horse and said to us, “Gentlemen, your attention please. Remember our agreement from last night? Well, let‘s find out who’s going to tell the first story. Remember that I‘ll be the judge and that anyone who disagrees with me will have to pay the cost of the entire trip for everyone from here on out. Now, let’s draw straws before we go any further, and whoever gets the shortest straw will go first. Mr. Knight, my good man, I’ve decided that you’ll draw first, so please take a straw. Come on over, Madame Prioress. And now you, Mr. Clerk— come on, don‘t be shy! Come on, everyone, grab a straw”.
Everyone drew a straw, and—to make a long story short—somehow the knight drew the shortest straw, whether by fate or accident. Everyone was relieved that he would be the first to go. And that was that. The good knight, for his part, didn’t complain at all, but sucked it up and said, ― “Looks like it’s me. Must be God‘s will! Now let‘s get going, and listen to my story”.
“And he bigan with right a mery chere
His tale anon and seyde in this manere”
- Geoffrey Chaucer’s Prologue to The Canterbury Tales
- In which year Geoffrey Chaucer born?
(A) 1340 (B) 1353 (C) 1320 (D) 1330
- The Canterbury Tales is an unfinished work, wherein each pilgrim was supposed to tell more than one tale. How many tales did Chaucer originally envision each pilgrim telling?
(A) 4 (B) 2 (C) 3 (D) 6
- In which year did Chaucer fought in Hundred Years’ War between France and England?
(A) 1379 (B) 1359 (C) 1369 (D) 1382
- Geoffrey Chaucer is also known as:
(A) The reformer of English language (B) The father of English poetry (C) The poet of English language (D) The father of English literature
- During the period of which king did Chaucer fight in the English Army for the Hundred Years’ War between France and England?
(A) Richard II (B) William I (C) William II (D) Edward III
- Who was the king when Geoffrey Chaucer was dead?
(A) David II (B) Edward III (C) Richard II (D) Henry IV
- Which of Chaucer’s works is associated with Valentine’s Day?
(A) The Canterbury Tales (B) Parlement of Fowls (C) The Book of the Duchess (D) The Canterbury Tales
- Which one of the following works of Geoffrey Chaucer is an elegy written for Blanche of the wife of John Gaunt?
(A) The Book of the Duchess (B) The House of Fame (C) Troilus and Criseyde (D) The Legend of Good Women
- Which stanza form was first introduced by Chaucer known as Chaucerian Stanza? (A) Heroic Couplet (B) Rhyme Royal (C) Octosyllabic Couplet (D) Ottawa Rhyma
- On which Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde was based?
(A) Boccaccio’s Mulieribus (B) Dante’s Divine Comedy
(C) Boccaccio’s Filostrato (D) Dante’s Inferno
- What is the title of the earliest of Chaucer’s poems, written sometime between 1369 and 1372?
(A) The Book of the Counte (B) The Book of the Duchess (C) The House of Fame (D) Troilus and Criseyde
- Who is called as “Morning Star of Reformation”?
(A) Chaucer (B) Wycliffe (C) Spenser (D) Martin Luther
- What name is now given to the language in which Chaucer worked?
(A) Early English (B) Middle English (C) Modern English (D) Old English
- Geoffrey Chaucer was alive to witness or hear breaking news of some remarkable events in medieval history. Which one of the following events was he not around for? (A) The Battle of Agincourt (B) The Black Death (C) The Deposition of Richard II (D) The Peasants’ Revolt
- Chaucer’s ‘The Romaunt of the Rose’ belongs to ……..period.
(A) English (B) Italian (C) Latin (D) French
- Who said “Chaucer found his native tongue a dialect and left it a language”?
(A) G.K.Chesterton (B) A.C.Ward (C) Lowes (D) Dr.Johnson
- Chaucer’s epic poem Troilus and Criseyde is considered by some to be his best work. Against what war is this tragic romance set? (A) The Hundred Years’ War (B) The Peloponnesian War (C) The Trojan War (D) The War of the Roses
- Chaucer was strongly influenced by classical and early medieval writings and even translated one into the English of his day. Which older work did he translate? (A) The City of God by St. Augustine (B) The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius (C) De Officiis by Cicero (D) Metamorphoses by Ovid
- Who is the first poet of England to occupy the poet’s corner?
(A) John Gower (B) Spenser (C) Chaucer (D) Shakespeare
- Into how many periods can we divide Chaucer’s works?
(A) Two – French and English (B) Three – French, English and Italian (C) Four – French, English, Italian and Latin (D) One – English only
- Who called “Chaucer as perpetual fountain of good sense, learned in all sciences”?
(A) Spenser (B) Arnold (C) Dryden (D) Albert
- The device that Chaucer employs in The Canterbury Tales of many characters gathered together, each telling stories, was used by an Italian author in a work probably begun sometime in the late 1340’s. Who was this Italian poet?
(A) Baldassare Castiglione (B) Giovanni Boccaccio (C) Dante Alighieri (D) Francesco Petrarch
- Who, according to Mathew Arnold, lacks high seriousness? (Engg- 2016)
(A) Geoffrey Chaucer (B) Emily Dickinson (C) T.S.Eliot (D) Walt Whitman
- The idea of which work of Chaucer has been taken from Boccaccio’s Decameron? (SET-2012)
(A) The Parliament of Fowls (B) Legende of Good Women (C) The Canterbury Tales (D) The Book of Duchess
- Which Chaucerian text paraodies Dante’s The Divine Comedy? (NET-D09)
(A) The Canterbury Tales (B) The Book of the Duchess (C) The House of Fame (D) Legende of Good Women
- The rhetorical pattern used by Chaucer in The Prologue to the Canterbury Tales is …. (NET – D10)
(A) ten syllabic line (B) eight syllabic line (C) Rhyme Royal (D) Ottava Rhyma
- How many legends of good women could Chaucer complete in his The Legend of Good Women? (NET- D2014)
(A) Six (B) Seven (C) Eight (D) Nine
- Who calls Chaucer as “a well of the English undefiled”? (SET -16)
(A) Thomas Malory (B) Thomas Occleve (C) John Lydgate (D) Spenser
- Who has been called as the “The Morning Star of Renaissance”? (Engg-2016)
(A) Gower (B) Langland (C) Wyclif (D) Chaucer
- “The Peasants Revolt” of 1381 was suppressed by……….
(A) Edward III (B) Richard II (C) Henry IV (D) Henry V
- The inn where the thirty pilgrims preferred to stay in ‘The Canterbury Tales’ was ………… (PT- 2012)
(A) The Southwark (B) Canterbury (C) Haberdasher (D) Tabard
- Which character in The Canterbury Tales is a little deaf following a blow to the head from one of her husbands?
(A) The Wife of Bath (B) The Prioress (C) The Nun (D) The Wife of Bristol
- Which is the first tale in The Canterbury Tales?
(A) The Cook’s Tale (B) The Friar’s Tale (C) The Knight’s Tale (D) The Merchant’s Tale
- Which of the tale tellers has a conspicuous hairy wart?
(A) The Coachman (B) The Miller (C) The Tailor (D) The weaver
- What is the prize for the best tale?
(A) Forgiveness from the Pardoner (B) The cost of the trip paid for
(C) Bragging rights (D) A meal paid for by the other pilgrims
- As the pilgrims left Southwark, they were led out of town by the Miller. What instrument was he playing?
(A) Flute (B) Bagpipe (C) Coronet (D) Drum
- Which of the pilgrim women was widowed?
(A) Prioress (B) Wife of Bath (C) Secretary to the Prioress (D) Nun
- Which of the following is not one of Chaucer’s travellers?
(A) The Blacksmith (B) The Merchant (C) The Monk (D) The Cook
- The man who organized the pilgrimage and mediated the tale-telling contest, Our Host, what is his name?
(A) Harry Bailey (B) John of Gaunt (C) The Monk (D) The Cook
- How did Harry decide who would tell the first tale?
(A) Coin toss (B) According to age (C) Drawing straws (D) According to social rank
- Which is the first character described?
(A) The Pardoner (B) The Squire (C) The Knight (D) The Oxford Clerk
- The Knight is travelling with his son, an amourous youth. What is he called by the narrator?
(A) The Oxford Clerk (B) The Squire (C) The Reeve (D) The Friar
- Which pilgrim “was known as Madam Eglantine”?
(A)The Wife of Bath (B) The Prioress (C) The Nun (D) The Cook
- Which pilgrim was named Hubert?
(A) The Pardoner (B)The Friar (C)The Summoner (D)The Physician
- Who among those on the pilgrimage was an impoverished student?
(A) The Physician (B) The Narrator (C) The Oxford Cleric (D) The Manciple
- Which Pilgrim had been married five times?
(A) The Wife of Bath (B) The Merchant (C) The Miller (D) The Lawyer
- Who was arguably the ugliest pilgrim?
(A) The Franklin (B) The Squire (C) The Summoner (D) The Parson
- Why are the pilgrims going to Canterbury?
(A) To meet King Henry III (B) To see a medieval mystery play (C) To worship the relics of Saint Thomas Becket (D) Because they are tourists
- What does the Squire wear?
(A) A velvet doublet and hose (B) Cloth embroidered with flowers (C) Green and peacock-blue hunting gear (D) A beaver hat
- According to the Wife of Bath, what do women most desire?
(A) Sovereignty over their husbands (B) True love (C) Perfect beauty (D) Great wealth
- Which of the following tales is a fabliau?
(A) The Knight’s Tale (B) The Nun’s Priest’s Tale (C) The Wife of Bath’s Tale (D) The Miller’s Tale
- Which pilgrim has a forked beard and wore clothes that looked like a jester?
(A) The Summoner (B) The Merchant (C) The Reeve (D) The Physician
- When does The Canterbury Tales take place?
(A) In the Renaissance (B) In pre-Christian Britain (C) During the Norman invasion (D) In the late fourteenth century
- For which social classes did Chaucer write?
(A) The nobility (B) All levels of society (C) Illiterate peasants (D) Merchants
- Who had helped conquer the city of Alexandria in Egypt in 1365?
(A) Knight (B) Squire (C) Yeoman (D) Parson
- How many Canterbury Tales are there?
(A) 80 (B) 24 (C) 16 (D) 50
- In ‘The Prologue to The Canterbury Tales’, the pilgrim whose profession gives him “a special love of gold” is the …………..
(A) Parson (B) Doctor (C) Summoner (D) Franklin
- Immediately prior to joining the other pilgrims in Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, the Knight had …………..
(A) been at court
(B) gone to visit his rural estate
(C) been engaged in battles overseas
(D) bought new clothes for the pilgrimage
- Who knows that the sea-route between Middleberg and Orwell must be safe from pirates?
(A) The Shipman (B) The Monk (C) The Merchant (D) The Squire
- At what time of year does the pilgrimage take place? (A) In the dead of winter (B) In the height of spring (C) In the autumn season (D) On a midsummer night
- Which characters are connected to the Church? (A) The Prioress, the Monk, the Friar, the Summoner and the Pardoner (B) The Miller, the Ploughman and the Reeve (C) The Knight, the Manciple and the Host (D) The Canon’s Yeoman, the Physician and the Clerk
- Two of the stories in The Canterbury Tales are in prose. They are….. (PG – 2012) (A) Melibeus Tale and The Parson’s Tale (B) Second Nun’s Tale and Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale (C) Manciple’s Tale and The Parson’s Tale (D) Nun’s Priest Tale and Monk’s Tale
- What does it take to receive absolution from Friar Hubert?
(A) A pattern of changed behavior (B) Money
(C) Salacious confessions D) Sincere prayers
- What does the Prioress seem most concerned with?
(A) Being perceived by others as ladylike and refined (B) Arriving safely at their destination (C) Her money (D) Finding a husband
- In the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales, the Parson’s brother is …………… (A) Doctor (B) Knight (C) Plowman (D) Clerk of Oxford
- In the opening lines of ‘The Prologue to The Canterbury Tales’, the narrator………
(A) criticizes chivalry (B) attacks the corruption in the Church (C) rejoices in the renewing cycle of life (D) establishes the ideal of the Renaissance man
- How many pilgrims went on the pilgrimage to Canterbury?
(A) 39 (B) 27 (C) 28 (D) 30
- Which tale in the first fragment seems to be unfinished?
(A)The Miller’s Tale (B) The Reeve’s Tale (C) The Cook’s Tale (D) The Knight’s Tale
- The Wife of Bath’s first name is……..
(A) Absolon (B) Alison (C) She isn’t given a first name, just “the Wife” (D) Bertha
- In the General Prologue, which character is swathed in ten pounds of cloth? (A) The Reeve (B) The Wife of Bath (C) The Summoner (D) The Miller
- The Cook’s real name is…………
(A) Roger (B) Warren (C) Geoffrey Chaucer (D) Harry Bailly
- In The Prologue to the Canterbury Tales, which pilgrim neglects his religious duties in order to hunt?
(A) Parson (B) Monk (C) Pardoner (D) Summoner
- In describing the Friar as “a noble pillar to his order” Chaucer uses…….
(A) epigram (B) irony (C) inversion (D) apaostrophe
- Which character says “that if gold rust, what then will iron do”?
(A) Parson (B) Monk (C) Friar (D) Clergy
- How many battles were fought by knight?
(A) 5 (B) 10 (C) 15 (D) 20
- Which pilgrim was an epicurean and believed that the pleasures of the world bring true happiness? (A) The Franklin (B) The Prioress (C) The Merchant (D) The Miller
- Who had a fire-red face just like a little angel’s because he had so many pimples? (A) The Knight (B) The Parson (C) The Summoner (D) The Pardoner
- Which pilgrim is presented as most corrupt?
(A) The Pardoner (B) The Merchant (C) The Franklin (D) The Friar
- The Wife of Bath in Chaucer’s The Prologue to the Canterbury Tales had travelled thrice to………. (DIET – 2016)
(A) London (B) Jerusalem (C) Galicia (D) Vatican
- How many pilgrims in the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales represent the military profession? (Engg- 2016)
(A) 1 (B) 2 (C) 3 (D) 4
- Reeve rode a horse called ………which is spotted with grey all over its body.
(A) Sierra (B) Mindy (C) Scot (D) Misty
- The Canterbury Tales was written in the ……………. (PT-2006)
(A) North Eastern Dialect (B) South Midland Dialect (C) South Western Dialect (D) East Midland Dialect
- Name the month mentioned in the opening line of Chaucer’s Prologue……. (PT- 2006) (A) May (B) June (C) April (D) March
- Who among the following character is not included in the workingmen’s union called Guildsmen?
(A) Haberdasher (B) Carpenter (C) Tapestry Maker (D) Blacksmith
- In Chaucer’s “Prologue to Canterbury Tales”, the shipman is the owner of a vessel called…………. (PG – 2015) (A) Madelaine (B) Victoria (C) Baltic (D) Princess
- The narrators of the Canterbury Tales are……….. (BRTE-2010)
(A) a group of artisans in the church at Canterbury (B) two priests of the church at Canterbury (C) an old couple from Canterbury (D) a group of pilgrims
- Chaucer’s ‘The Canterbury Tales’ was written in ………. (AEEO-2010) (A) Modern English (B) American English (C) Middle English (D) Old English
- Which of the following characters does not appear in Canterbury Tales? (SET-2012) (A) The Knight (B) The wife of Bath (C) Ganymede (D) The Doctor of Physic
- To whom is Chaucer referring when he says “He knew the tavern well in every town”? (NET – D07)
(A) Pardoner (B) Monk (C) Squire (D) Friar
- “She was a worthy woman al hir lyve: Housbondes at cherche dore she hadde five”. Here ‘She’ refers to ……….
(A) Nun (B) Prioress (C) Wife of Bath (D) Sister of Mercy
- From among the Canterbury pilgrims, which group would qualify as the ‘Upper Class’? (NET- D14)
(A) The Pardoner, The Miller, The Nun’s Priest (B) Franklin, Parson, Wife of Bath (C) The Knight, The Squire, The Prioress (D) The Reeve, The Manciple, The Clerk
- Which Canterbury pilgrim carries a brooch inscribed with the Latin words meaning “Love Conquers All”? (NET- 2015)
(A) The Prioress (B) The Monk (C) The Wife of Bath (D) The Squire
- What narrative perspective does Chaucer employ in the opening of “The General Prologue”? (NET- 2016)
(A) A first person – I (B) Omniscience (C) Third Person (D) Free indirect discourse
- The Canterbury Tales is structured as a ……..
(A) Parody (B) Folk Ballad (C) Melodrama (D) Frame story
- The Clark of Oxford studies …………..philosophy.
(A) Plato (B) Socrates (C) Aristotle (D) Confucius
- Who is in charge of buying food and provisions for the Inner Temple where students of law are staying?
(A) Manciple (B) Sergeant of Law (C) Reeve (D) Merchant
- In ‘The Prologue’…………… wears the image of St. Christopher. (Engg-2016)
(A) The Monk (B) The Knight (C) The Yeoman (D) The Clerk
- Who could quote exactly all the cases and judgements that had occurred from the time of William the Conqueror?
(A) The Reeve (B) The Manciple (C) The Sergeant (D) The Lawyer
- The Franklin is as hospitable as ……. in his part of the country.
(A) St.Julian (B) St.Augustine (C) St.Maure (D) St.Benedict
- Who is strong, muscular and wins wrestling matches?
(A) The Pardoner (B) The Merchant (C) The Doctor of Physic (D) The Miller
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